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Texas — White schoolchildren in Texas continue to outperform their peers in reading and math, but black and Hispanic students slowly are making gains to close the gap in test scores, according to a national study being released today.

The report from the nonprofit Center on Education Policy found that the biggest gaps exist in math achievement, particularly among high school students.

“It’s a dual message,” said Jack Jennings, the president of the Washington, D.C., policy center that produced the study. “You can point to solid progress, but the gaps that remain are so large that at the present rate of achievement it’s going to take years to eliminate the gap.”

Closing the so-called achievement gap between white children and their classmates is a cornerstone of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The law, which took effect in 2002 under President George W. Bush, was modeled on Texas’ school accountability system, which requires that student test scores be broken down by race, ethnicity and income level.

The CEP report looks at scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills for students in grades 4, 8 and 10 from 2005 through 2009.

Researchers noted the gains made in Texas by black and Hispanic eighth-graders in math. Last year, 74 percent of the Hispanic students passed the math test, up from half in 2005. The passing rate for black children grew from 44 percent to 66 percent.

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